Amsterdam, Berlin, Catalonia and Friesland have them already: their own domain name extensions, .amsterdam, .berlin, .cat and .frl. What about your city or region? Surely it deserves one too? A new window for creating geoTLDs is expected to open in 2021. And SIDN has the know-how to guide you through the application process and run the domain on your behalf. Full details are given below.

More information about geoTLDs:

What's a geoTLD?

TLD is short for top-level domain: the part of a domain name that comes after the last dot. In the Netherlands, the best-known TLDs are .com and .nl. TLDs with two characters belong to recognised nation states, as with .nl for the Netherlands. All other TLDs have at least three characters.


GeoTLDs have been around for nearly twenty years, but most were created in 2012. That's when the city of Amsterdam applied to register .amsterdam, for which SIDN provides the technical infrastructure. To use the industry jargon, we are .amsterdam's 'registry service provider'.

What can a geoTLD do for your city or region?

  • City marketing: domain names based on your own TLD will give your city a special vibe.

  • Closer city-business ties: using your geoTLD will create a strong bond between the user and your region or city. As with

  • Better service profiling: when a local government service or a tourism business uses your geoTLD, everyone can see that it's linked to your city or region.

What are the geoTLD application criteria?

GeoTLDs are assigned by an independent global organisation called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). You can't apply for a geoTLD any time you like. ICANN defines 'windows': periods of a few months, during which applications can be made. ICANN is currently preparing for a new window, probably in 2021.

ICANN logo

Windows don't come along very often: there can be years between one window and the next. So you don't want to miss out! The application criteria differ each time, and the criteria for the upcoming window haven't yet been announced. But we think it's safe to assume that applicants will have to satisfy at least the following conditions:

  • You'll need to show that you and your partners have the technical and operational capability to run the domain. That'll mean having the relevant technical expertise and being financially stable.

  • You'll be expected to show that you represent the government of your city or region. The name you're applying to create will also have to be distinctive, so that people don't confuse it with other geoTLDs.

  • ICANN will want you to show that you're committed to fighting abuse linked to domain names in your geoTLD (e.g. phishing, cybercrime).

What does running a geoTLD involve?

For most organisations that want geoTLDs, the activities covered by ICANN's criteria aren't part of their core capabilities. So it's normal to work with a registry service provider (RSP). An RSP is an organisation that's familiar with the domain name world and has the know-how to run the geoTLD for the applicant. For example, SIDN works for the Municipality of Amsterdam as RSP for .amsterdam. Usually, the RSP takes on responsibility for most of the practical activities involved in running the TLD. It doesn't have to be like that, but it's generally much easier that way. After all, most RSPs have a lot of experience running TLDs. The jobs that an RSP typically takes on include:

  • Setting up and managing the technical infrastructure needed for internet users to reach the geoTLD and subdomains via the DNS

  • Handling registration applications and amendments for domain names within the geoTLD, submitted by applicants directly or through nominated intermediaries (e.g. ad agencies)

  • Detecting and tackling demonstrable abuse, e.g. the distribution of malware via a site within the geoTLD

  • Compliance: making sure that everything meets ICANN's requirements and cooperating with ICANN audits

An RSP can also help with the legal, commercial and policy issues linked to the geoTLD. Want to know more? Drop us a line!

What makes SIDN a good partner for your geoTLD?

If you get us to run your geoTLD, you'll have access to comprehensive expertise and resources through our backend registry services. Our systems satisfy all ICANN requirements. We'll also tailor a service package to your needs, with optional extras such as in-depth monitoring, ICANN consultancy and reporting. And, regardless of the package you choose, you'll have unrivalled experience at your disposal. The nuts and bolts:

  • Support with all technical, legal and policy aspects

  • Deployment of the systems used to run .nl, one of the world's most secure networks

  • Access to our extensive distribution network made up of about 1,300 registrars

  • Thirty years of relevant experience at your disposal

Want to know more?

Read about SIDN's registry services or drop a line to our Product Manager Pim Pastoors at


Pim Pastoors


+31 6 570 454 07


Pim Pastoors


+31 6 570 454 07


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